To develop a menu and resource to illustrate to consumers and health professionals what a healthy balanced diet looks like over the course of a week.
Development and analysis of an illustrative 7 d ‘eatwell week’ menu to meet current UK recommendations for nutrients with a Dietary Reference Value, with a daily energy base of 8368 kJ (2000 kcal). Foods were selected using market research data on meals and snacks commonly consumed by UK adults. Analysis used the food composition data set from year 1 (2008) of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme. The eatwell week menu was developed using an iterative process of nutritional analysis with adjustments made to portion sizes and the inclusion/exclusion of foods in order to achieve the target macronutrient composition.
Three main meals and two snacks were presented as interchangeable within the weekdays and two weekend days to achieve adult food and nutrient recommendations. Main meals were based on potatoes, rice or pasta with fish (two meals; one oily), red meat (two meals), poultry or vegetarian accompaniments. The 5-a-day target for fruit and vegetables (range 5–6·7 portions) was achieved daily. Mean salt content was below recommended maximum levels (<6 g/d). All key macro- and micronutrient values were achieved.
Affordable foods, and those widely consumed by British adults, can be incorporated within a 7 d healthy balanced menu. Future research should investigate the effect of using the eatwell week on adults’ dietary habits and health-related outcomes.
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